Malignant mesothelioma is the most well-known disease associated with exposure to deadly asbestos fibers. However, it is not the only disease caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. There is also a disease known as asbestosis that is not talked about as much, but many people are still aware of its existence.
As discussed in a recent article in The Western News, one of the more common diseases caused by exposure to asbestos is known as pleural thickening. Pleural refers to the human lungs. As the asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can become trapped in the lungs, and the body has three distinct responses that are not technically associated with mesothelioma.
As we already discussed, asbestos occurs as a result of scarring in the lung tissue, which can obstruct the airway, causing a treatable, but potentially deadly, condition similar to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It can also form what are known as pleural plaques in the lungs, which can also cause serious illness and pain and suffering, as our Boston asbestos exposure attorneys have seen in various cases over the years.
A third distinct condition that asbestos exposure can cause is, of course, pleural thickening. This disease, which is also called diffuse pleural thickening (DPT), is a disease of the lungs classified by a pleural thickening. While this is evident by the name, it specifically involves a blocking of the space between the pleura and the lungs themselves. This can result in severe inflammatory responsive, which can lead to considerable pain and suffering. This is considered the most prevalent disease caused by exposure to asbestos, especially when that exposure occurs during childhood.
Doctors are able to diagnose DPT by doing CT scans on young residents of areas where high levels of asbestos exposure are likely. These examinations are part of what researchers call a pre-adult latency study. These studies are repeated on the same patients as they grow older, and they can detect whether the pleural lining is getting thicker over time. As the condition gets worse, patients will start to develop symptoms of DPT. At first the patients will start to have trouble walking up even a single flight of stairs. This will occur before they get any shortness of breath from ordinary walking, but that will likely come later.
The way in which the disease causes so much difficulty is that it restricts the amount of oxygen a victim of asbestos exposure will get when he or she breaths in air. At the condition progresses, the level of oxygen being absorbed by the lungs will continue to decrease. At some point, these patients will not be able to exert themselves at all and will likely need an oxygen tank or oxygen concentrator to breath.
If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney is likely familiar with the source of your asbestos exposure, since there have been so many victims over the years, and he or she can get work on fighting for your right to a full and appropriate financial compensation.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Asbestos and pre-1990 adolescent exposure, January 3, 2017, By Bethany Rolfson, The Western News
More Blog Entries:
Rondon v. Hennessy Industries, Inc. – “Inevitable Use” Standard in Asbestos Litigation, July 2, 2016, Boston Mesothelioma Attorney Blog